I turned 12 in a rented yellow house on Walnut Blvd. We lived there on the outskirts of Corvallis Oregon for three years while my step dad tried to finish a degree in accounting at Linn Benton community college.
On my birthday I invited Ted Janfino (name changed) over to stay the night. We were in my bedroom talking when mom knocked on the door. She carried a Ball caning jar with a red bow ribbon taped to the lid. She had a strange smile as she wished me happy birthday and handed me her gift.
I accepted it and asked “What is it mom?” It was full of what looked like green parsley. She told me that so many people in the world are narrow-minded and that I was not going to be one of them. My 12th birthday gift from mom was a quart jar full of marijuana.
I took it into my room and showed Ted. He couldn’t believe how cool my mom was. Neither could I. We made a pipe out of a Pepsi can and got high as a couple of kites.
Mom had just survived her second big attempt at living in church culture and being a good Pentecostal. She couldn’t fit in with the congregations and be one of the shiny happy people (in her view of course) who streamed into Albany Assembly of God each Sunday. She loved God, still does, but she had a hard time fitting in with the anointed ones. So she went back to her happy place with a joint in her hand and took me with her.